- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - A San Diego-based company planning to build a wind farm in rural Plymouth County will have to meet several requirements and goals in order to open the roughly $200 million project.

The Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/1MayNWA ) reports that proposed wind farm will include easements on 16,000 acres in rural Plymouth County and would require an environmental study to determine the estimated 100 turbines’ potential impact on bats and birds.

EDF Renewable Energy manager Chris Sternhagen said the Rocky Road Wind Project could open in 2018 or 2019 if these requirements are met.

The project’s name is a nod to the ice cream flavor produced by Wells Enterprises Inc. in Le Mars, which is advertised as the ice cream capital of the world.

He says that the company wants to be a mainstay of northwest Iowa’s growing windfarm industry.

“We’re planning to put a project in place and be here long term,” Sternhagen told a crowd of about 50 people at a meeting Wednesday night in Le Mars.

Sternhagen said the company chose Plymouth county because of its compatible terrain, proximity to Sioux City and wind energy support.

Plymouth County officials haven’t entered into any agreements for the project.

Le Mars resident Wayne Heien said he thinks the project will give the county an economic boost.

“It has potential,” Heien said. “I like the tax revenue.”

The company’s nearest wind farm is in Pomeroy.

“Iowa is a big market for that,” Sternhagen said. “(But) our ultimate goal is to own and operate.”

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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